Contributions from English as a Second Language 604
Scattered around the province and often far from large English speaking population centers, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers have embraced the magic of using technology to bring the world, particularly the English-speaking world, into their classrooms. Their stories are often accounts of victories gained through effective networking with colleagues, with administrators and with technicians to achieve results. This makes many of these innovations easy to access for teachers in any discipline, who can take ownership of the technology and integrate it into their courses.
For the ESL teacher a number of very discipline-specific IT integration questions arise such as:
How can information technology be used to bring real-life language use into the ESL classroom? to encourage students to speak in a second language? to determine a student’s opening level of second language competence for purposes of class placement?
Often, questions arise which involve all educators:
How do we consolidate the achievements of our students by offering different and sometimes fun ways to learn?
Can the use of Web 2.0 increase motivation and success?
Profweb and ESL
Since 2009, Profweb has published many real-life stories dealing with English as a Second Language. The sampling below does not truly reflect the variety of interactions between ESL and Information Technology documented in Profweb’s pages.
- James Laviolette has found his college’s SmartBoards amazingly user-friendly. Although many teachers use PowerPoints, after a semester of experimentation, he now mainly writes over Word documents. Unlike the traditional whiteboard, however, nothing is lost to students when he moves to the next panel.
- As the ancient art of weaving a good yarn is reinvented for the digital age, Jane Petring thought it would be interesting to find ways for students to explore literature and their own beliefs from different points of view. Two assignments that worked well to improve writing and pronunciation skills were character blogs and ‘This I Believe’ recordings.
- Oral interaction is not easy for second language learners to master. Avery Rueb is addressing the lack of fun and easy-to-set-up exercises to help students develop this skill by developing a game for iOS, Android and browsers in both English and French.
There are many other valuable resources in Profweb of interest to ESL teachers looking to use information technology. In fact, a search in Profweb using the keywords ‘Second Language’ returned 100 results. The IT Partners have also produced a significant number of valuable resources for the ESL teacher.
- Online Tutoring System for Essay Writing (OTSEW)
Through the effective use of technology and interactive media, the site combines evaluation, reference and learning activities in a unique package that students may use alone or in tandem with tutoring offered at their college. The OTSEW approach to learning English encompasses three core elements: meaning, form and use. By illustrating how components of English sentences are influenced by each of these elements, OTSEW simplifies language learning and essay writing. Dynamic learning strategies are used to analyze complex information, using different yet complimentary perspectives. Each unit focuses on a single theme that presents written explanations of key concepts along with colourful animations.
- College English Prep Online (CEPO)
This educational website is designed to strengthen students’ English-language skills through the introduction of topics and themes related to English literature. With College English Prep Online, students will be able to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English, as well as to learn about important literary techniques and how to discuss themes in relation to literature. College English Prep Online is made up of five units. In each unit, either a short story or a poem will be used to teach how an author employs different literary techniques to express theme and meaning in a piece of literature.
- Writing Thesis Statements: A Guided-Writing Exercise based on a Short Story
This interactive resource, in the form of a flipbook, will help students practice writing better thesis statements online. They can print out their work in PDF format or simply answer on the screen in the spaces provided. The short story featured in this resource, Act of God by Joan Baxter, was used in a former MELS English Exit Exam. Through the exercises, students can get a real idea of what to expect in an English Exit Exam.
- The Listening Companion
This website provides students of English as a Second Language with college level texts they can listen to and read at the same time. By listening and reading simultaneously, students may not only improve their comprehension, but also their pronunciation. Moreover, at the click of the mouse, the students have access to a glossary for words that they might not know and comprehension questions using Netquiz software. Several texts on this site are reprints of business articles from Canadian newspapers and others are short stories by Canadian authors, Instructors can integrate these texts into either A or B block intermediate level courses.
- eLearning@Dawson College
There is a lot of publicity online about e-learning and a lot of research and many websites that focus on business needs or university level needs in this field. Chantale Giguère, however, had not seen a lot of reflections or original content with a focus on cegep online learning/teaching. Her unique resource is useful for some cegep teachers who consider teaching online but don't know where to start to make it work. And the research recommended, which is different in the French and English editions, has been chosen specifically for cegep teacher issues.
The Ceres Research Tool from Vitrine Technologie-Éducation returned 55 resources in English from around the world using ESL as a keyword.
Use Profweb as a Springboard to Technopedagogical Success
Profweb also hosts teachers' academic websites within the Quebec College Network at no charge. In this space, you can edit your website using easy-to-install blog, and wiki applications. Your teaching materials, whether or not created with these applications, can be hosted here as well. The ESL Coordination Committee is hosted on Profweb’s Web Space.
The Profweb team is there to facilitate your exploration of new technologies and inspiring educational opportunities. They can also organize an activity addressing the issue of the integration of ICT into ESL in your department. If you are interested, please contact us.